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Caring mother, coquette, confidante : emotional labor, the labor intimacy of the Cantonese and Putonghua teachers for their global elite clients

Emotional labor, the labor intimacy of the Cantonese and Putonghua teachers for their global elite clients

Authors Chow, Domio King-Kan
Issue Date 1999
Summary Globalization not only creates tremendous opportunities for the high-tech and high-skilled people, it also yields ample latent demand for personal service for expatriates, who frequently need to travel across national boundaries. To these highly mobile personnel, acquiring the language of the host community is increasingly perceived as one of an important key to their success in overseas assignments. It not only offers assistance in adjusting their stay overseas, but also can help them to develop a better competitive edge in business when collaborating with their local business partners and associates. As I switched from studying these expatriates to their language teachers, this study uncovers the intimate aspect of the language service that Cantonese and Putonghua teachers performed. By looking at the micro-interaction dynamic of these language teachers' works, this study examines how intimacy is possible in the social process of their service relations with the clients. Due to the marginal natures surrounding this service, the center has engendered its language service as migrant women's work with the prospect of "friend-like" service relationship. For that reason, the teachers can assist their clients to learn the language and the culture embedded in it like their friends in Hong Kong. In work,teachers need to perform emotional labor to entertain and cultivate feeling of success for their clients. As they provide their language service, which involves intense and personal interaction, teachers gradually learn to perform traditional gender roles of Caring Mother, Coquette and Confidante, which entail intimate relations emerging from the process of self-disclosure through conversation drills. Base on two and a half year of intermittent fieldwork, including participant observation and in-depth interviews, this study unveils the regime of labor intimacy these teachers perform, which often put them in situations of negotiating intimacy in their daily interaction with male clients at work. And it is intimate to the process of globalization at large. Key words: Globalization, Gender, Emotional Work Intimacy.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1999
Language English
Format Thesis
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